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Ein Leitfaden für Eltern zum Thema Impfstoffe

von NFI Redaktion

The tears and cries, as heartbreaking as they may be, are worth it. A simple poke in the skin protects children for a lifetime from diseases such as chickenpox, meningitis, and hepatitis. Millions of children in the United States are vaccinated every year on a schedule that starts at birth and extends into childhood, usually before the start of school in the fall. Dr. Mary Glodé, Professor of Pediatrics and Head of the Department of Infectious Diseases at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado, explains which vaccinations children should receive and when – starting with the first vaccination that babies receive just a few hours after birth.

Hepatitis B
When: The Hepatitis B vaccine is a three-dose vaccine. Before newborns leave the hospital, they receive a vaccination in case their mothers have the disease, which can be transmitted to a child during birth, says Glodé. The second and third doses are usually given a month and six months later. Immunity lasts for over 20 years.
Why: Hepatitis B is a virus that can damage the liver, cause infections, scarring, and increase the risk of cancer. Children with Hepatitis B are at high risk of becoming seriously ill – about 90% of infected infants eventually develop a lifelong infection and 25% die from liver disease.

Rotavirus
When: There are two brands of the Rotavirus vaccine, one requiring two doses and one requiring three doses – at ages 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months if needed. All are administered orally as a liquid.
Why: Rotavirus is the most common cause of vomiting and diarrhea in children worldwide. The virus can also cause fever, loss of appetite, and dehydration. The vaccine does its job well. Studies show that the vaccine prevents more than 85% of severe Rotavirus infections and more than 75% of all Rotavirus infections in a baby’s first year of life.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (DTaP)
When: „This was the first combination vaccine ever made,“ says Glodé. „The purpose was simply to minimize the number of times a pediatrician has to poke a child.“ DTaP follows a five-dose schedule: at ages 2, 4, 6, and 15 to 18 months, and again between ages 4 and 6. Immunity lasts for at least 10 years.
Why: This single vaccine protects against three dangerous diseases. Diphtheria is a respiratory disease that can cause breathing problems and possibly lead to paralysis, heart failure, and death. Tetanus is a bacterial infection that can cause muscle spasms leading to muscle tissue tearing or spinal fractures. Pertussis, known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory infection that causes such severe and prolonged coughing that a child may stop breathing during an attack.

H. Influenzae Type b
When: The Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine is given at ages 2 and 4 months, and again at age 6 months if a third dose is required. (This depends on the brand of vaccine used.) The final dose is given at age 12 to 15 months and protects a child until their own immunity kicks in a few years later.
Why: Hib bacteria cause meningitis, an infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord that can lead to deafness and death. It is also one of the bacteria causing pneumonia, as well as bone and joint infections causing septic arthritis or joint inflammation.

Pneumococcal Disease
When: „There are about 100 different strains of the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacterium that can cause infections in children,“ says Glodé. „Initially, the PCV vaccine covered seven of these strains, but in 2010, it was updated to cover 13 of the most severe strains – hence it is now called PCV 13.“ The PCV or Pneumococcal Conjugate vaccine is given in four doses at ages 2, 4, and 6 months, with a final dose at age 12 months or older.
Why: A bacterium called Streptococcus pneumoniae can cause blood infections, pneumonia, and pneumococcal meningitis. (Like meningitis, this infection causes swelling and irritation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.) It is especially dangerous for children under 2 years old whose immune systems are still developing.

Polio
When: This is given in four doses at ages 2, 4, 6, and 15 to 18 months, with a booster shot between ages 4 and 6.
Why: Polio is a virus that can lead to paralysis and eventually death by paralyzing the muscles that help a person breathe. It infected thousands of people in the United States every year before the vaccine began in 1955, successfully eradicating the disease in this country. However, because polio still exists worldwide, it is important to protect children, explains Glodé.

MMRV
When: The MMRV vaccine is administered at ages 12 to 15 months, and again at ages 4 to 6.
Why: It’s a mouthful – Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella. And you don’t want your child to get any of them. Measles can cause rash, cough, and fever and lead to ear infections, pneumonia, and possibly death. Mumps can cause fever, headache, and swollen glands, leading to deafness, meningitis, and swelling of the testicles or ovaries. Rubella causes rash, fever, and sometimes arthritis. Finally, Varicella or Chickenpox can cause rashes, itching, fever, and fatigue, leading to skin infections and scarring. In rare cases, it can lead to encephalitis, an infection of the brain.

Hepatitis A
When: The Hepatitis A vaccine is given between ages 1 and 2, with a repeat dose six months later.
Why: Hepatitis A is a liver disease that can cause jaundice and severe diarrhea; one in five infected individuals needs to be hospitalized. While children are not at significant risk of becoming seriously ill from Hepatitis A, adults are, according to Glodé. Vaccinations in children are partly aimed at protecting older family members and caregivers.

Flu
When: Once a year, starting at 6 months, children should be vaccinated against the flu. Children ages 2 and older without asthma or weakened immune systems can receive the flu vaccine in the form of a nasal spray.
Why: The flu vaccine contains killed flu viruses, and each version protects against the three strains most likely to infect people in a given year, based on studies of the most active strains globally, says Glodé. When scientists match the strains correctly, studies show that the vaccine prevents the flu in more than 70% of healthy young individuals.

Are vaccines safe?
Since the first vaccine was developed over 200 years ago against smallpox, significant progress has been made in vaccine development. Research today shows that vaccines are safer than ever. Because side effects are typically mild and rare, the benefits far outweigh the risks when it comes to protecting a child’s health over the years, according to Glodé. „Vaccines must undergo rigorous testing before being made available to the public.“

Although vaccines have been controversial as a possible cause of autism for years, study after study has found no such link. „Autism is a very serious illness that needs to be investigated, but there simply is no evidence linking it to vaccines,“ says Glodé. Countless studies support the health benefits of vaccines. These findings help parents make what most, if not all, child health experts believe is the right choice: protection through vaccinations.

Vaccination side effects
Vaccination side effects are typically rare and generally mild. If they do occur, parents may see the following:
If concerned, call your doctor.
Hepatitis B: Injection site pain, fever.
Rotavirus: Irritability, mild diarrhea, vomiting.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (DTaP): Fever, restlessness, vomiting, loss of appetite for a few days, fatigue.
Haemophilus influenzae Type b: Injection site pain, fever.
Pneumococcal Disease: Drowsiness, injection site pain, fever, restlessness.
Polio: Injection site pain.
MMRV: Fever, fever-induced seizure, mild rash, swollen glands.
Hepatitis A: Injection site pain, headache, loss of appetite, fatigue.
Flu: Low-grade fever, muscle aches.
Very rare (one or two in a million people)

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